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Bike On, Responsibly

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As a frequent pedestrian and occasional cyclist, I feel qualified to address the issue of bikes on sidewalks ("Mailbox," Oct. 30). I understand why a cyclist would prefer riding on the sidewalk, as the street is scary and bike lanes provide an illusion of protection at best. But bike riders do not seem to appreciate how frightening it is to be strolling along and have a cyclist suddenly whiz past. Anyone who discounts the danger should read about the pedestrian in San Francisco who was killed by a bicyclist. Cyclists who think they are mitigating the danger by yelling a warning such as "On your left!" are deluding themselves. Even when I can hear the scream over the traffic noise, by the time I realize this sound from behind might be directed at me, guess that it could be somebody on a bike, and figure out that they expect me to move to the right, it is too late.

My solution? Don't outlaw bikes on sidewalks but outlaw riding a bike past any pedestrian. Let cyclists use empty sidewalks but require them to do the courteous and safe thing — take it into the street or dismount and walk past any pedestrian. Sidewalks are for walking.

Lynne Page, Eureka


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